To Manchester for two very special Coronation Street events held at the award-winning pub, The Lass o'Gowrie.
For a full review of the Coronation Street 1977 Live! plays, do please have a look here.
Picture from Coronation Street 1977 Live! copyright Elspeth Mary Moore - see many more here.
It's not too late to see these plays as they run for another couple of days. Buy tickets and find out more here.
Well, if that wasn't exciting enough, the next day we set off back to the Lass o'Gowrie pub bright and early in the morning for a 10am start for Corriefest - the UK's Coronation Street fan convention. Also turning up early for the event were fellow bloggers and podcasters from Conversation Street, Coronation Street actor Dave Dutton - the man who's had 11 roles on Corrie - and our friends and guest bloggers Nikki and John. We all trooped off for a coffee and then returned to the pub to take our seats for one of the best days I've ever had as a Coronation Street fan.
With a packed pub and a sell-out event, I was really lucky to sit right at the very front of the action. I felt a bit like the class nerd but got over my embarassment and decided to wear my Corrie anorak with pride and make the most of sitting in the best seat in the house.
|MC Charlie Ross, Corriefest|
We then had a screening of another rare programme which had never seen the light of day before. It was a pilot for a TV show written by Coronation Street writer-turned-producer Harry Kershaw, called Lift Off. It was a Corrie spin-off starring Graham Haberfield and Neville Buswell who played Jerry Booth and Ray Langton on the Street. Graham and Neville played their Corrie characters but while on Corrie they were both builders, in Lift Off they'd turned into insurance salesman. It was interesting to watch and to see what could have been if Lift Off had indeed Taken Off, which it obviously hadn't. Fred Feast, who played Corrie's Fred Gee, also turned up in the programme as the lift engineer.
|Actress Kathy Jones at Corriefest 2013 with Gareth Kavanagh and Charlie Ross|
|Casting Director June West at Corriefest 2013 with Jeni Howarth-Williams|
June revealed that actor Rupert Everett is "desperate" to be in Coronation Street and he was almost cast in the role of Lewis Archer but it was given, as we know, to Nigel Havers.
June gave a good insight into the casting process for Coronation Street and The Road to Coronation Street. She got a big laugh when she said that after Alan Hasall was originally cast as Tyrone Dobbs, one of the Corrie writers saw him on screen for the first time and said: "Well, there's our next Albert Tatlock!"
It was then time for lunch with hotpot served behind the bar and the chance to meet some lovely people I'd only ever chatted to on twitter before - including our guest blogger Kel who is on twitter
|Writer John Stevenson at Corriefest 2013 with Corriefest organiser and Lass o'Gowrie landlord Gareth Kavanagh|
After lunch we took our seats again for the main man, Coronation Street writer John Stevenson. John wrote his first script in May 1976 and his work includes writing the Ken/Deidre/Mike love triangle storyline and the January 2000 "two-hander" featuring Raquel and Curly Watts. He also wrote out Alan Bradley by killing him off getting knocked over by the Blackpool tram.
John revealed that one side of the character of Annie Walker was partly based on his own mum. Now, there's an admission to make! He also said that Sir Laurence Olivier wanted to be on Coronation Street and the writing team had him pencilled in to make an appearance on the show - as a tramp!
What a great bloke and wonderful storyteller John Stevenson was. As you can see from the picture below, the audience were rapt. This picture shows just a fraction of the audience, with yours truly in seventh heaven at the very front, and is copyright Debbie Manley, who is on twitter at @debbiemanley
|Corriefest 2013 at The Lass o'Gowrie|
Our quiz team comprised of Flaming Nora, Sunny Jim, Fat Brenda, actor Dave Dutton, Nikki Beresford and John Beresford. The team from the Coronation Street Blog, I'm very proud to say, won the quiz! We very narrowly beat the team from Conversation Street and walked away with the top prize of Coronation Street Monopoly (which had been supplied by two of our team members!).
We also won a pot of cash which we donated to the charity which Corriefest was supporting - Myeloma UK.
And then, finally, to bring the day to a close, the wonderful Sue Jenkins took to the stage. Sue played Rovers Return barmaid Gloria Todd from 1985 - 1988.
|Sue Jenkins at Corriefest 2013 with David MacCreedy - co-director of Coronation Street 1977|
Sue revealed that she was in very much in awe of Julie Goodyear when she first started work on Corrie and even though she and Julie became very good friends over the time she was working on the Street, she always felt a little in awe of her. She told a funny story about being at a charity do with Julie Goodyear where Julie Goodyear introduced Sue as "my barmaid" even in real life. It was fun to listen to Sue talk about her time on Corrie working with Julie Goodyear as Bet, while being overlooked by a huge mural of Bet Lynch on the wall of the pub.
After Sue finished, she took questions from the audience and posed for photos with fans. As well as being a huge Corrie fan, I was probably an even bigger fan of Brookside when it was going and to me, Sue Jenkins is better known as Jackie Corkhill. I would've loved to have dared ask her to say, just once, in that scouse accent she had on the show: "Drucks, Jimmy? Drucks" but it was niether the time nor the place!
And with that, it was time to head home. Corriefest has been a wonderful experience and I do hope it'll run next year too. With thanks to all at The Lass o'Gowrie for organising it for us Corrie fans.
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